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Finally Approved by the Amazon Affiliate Program

Discussion in 'YouTube Video Monetization & Partnership Forum' started by Illuminated Nerd, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. Illuminated Nerd
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    When you apply for the Amazon.com Affiliate Program, it's a temporary account that gives you full access as an affiliate for 90 days. You have to "prove" your worth to Amazon in order to be fully approved into the program before that 90 days is up.

    I initially applied in September, just before I started my channel in November thinking I'd be fine if I just got one fully qualified sale. After 90 days rolled around in January, I had roughly 100 Subscribers and was getting 5k views per month. I had about 10 amazon commission sales accrued in that 90 day period. I assumed that was enough, yet I received a rejection e-mail with a response of "your channel doesn't have enough unique content or followers". Granted, it worded it as a much more cryptic canned response of course, but that's what they meant :)

    After doing some research, a YouTuber with a tech gadget channel reported "trying again" repeatedly as his channel grew. He would immediately re-apply, and he got rejected several times before being approved after many months of trying. He made a video about it in great detail so that was useful. He was finally approved when he had around 50-60 videos and just over 600 subs.

    I waited until I had the following stats: 650 subscribers, 19 videos, and getting over 50k views / month. I recently re-applied and got my full approval email 4 days after applying.

    Based on my research/observation, some useful tips:
    • You shouldn't apply for your Amazon Affiliate Program account when your channel starts.
    • Build a subscriber base first. There is no hard-set rule but I've heard 500+ is a good rule of thumb.
    • If you exploded and hit 500+ subs early from one video, that may not necessarily get you approved. You should ideally have enough unique content (more than a few videos).
    • You should add the Amazon Affiliate Program disclaimer on your "about" page for your channel. Mine says "I am a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.". You don't need to add it to every video.
    • You should identify your Amazon Links in your video description as affiliate links. Be very obvious about it.
      Ex: "Here is an amazon affiliate link for the phone case I just reviewed". If I have a few links, sometimes I'll just put "Amazon Affiliate Links:", and make a list of links below. As long as the user can obviously tell that it's an affiliate link, you're good. It just can't be "misleading".
    • Only link to products that are directly related to the video itself.
    • A fully qualified sale means that a user not only clicked on your product link, but purchased *that product*. If all you get is commission from unrelated stuff that a user purchased after viewing your linked product, you may not get approved as you didn't get at least one "fully qualified sale" in that 90 day period. That's an important distinction.
    Those are the big items I've noticed. Hope that helps people looking for help/advice on the subject.
     
  2. Jealous Lawn Care
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    Seems like valid info...as I've tried and made sales in the past, but after a weekish...I got the same email from Amazon as you got. Amazon wouldn't tell me how many subs or views I needed, but I know apparently its at least >250 subs even though I have 60+ vids and easily 4,000hrs of watchtime for a year. Seems like subs might be the main factor IMO.
     
  3. UKHypnotist
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    Uh, gents?

    I think before you put a single link on your video descriptions, you need to ask Amazon Associates to clarify this paragraph; which I found under the "Disqualified Purchases" section of the Programme Terms...

    "d) any Product purchased by a customer who is referred to an Amazon Site by a link that is generated or displayed on a search engine (including Google, Yahoo, Bing, or any other search portal, sponsored advertising service, or other search or referral service, or any site that participates in such search engine’s network),"

    I think the paragraph above accurately describes YouTube; which is simultaneously the world's largest video search engine, and an active participant in the Google Search Network.

    In addition, I seem to remember seeing a year or two ago, an online article which announced that Amazon had just disqualified YouTube videos as a valid place for their affiliate links. The only way to tell if I am right or wrong is to ask Amazon Associates itself.

    As I'm not a Associates member myself, I'd be interesting in finding out their answer.
     
  4. Illuminated Nerd
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    Hi UKHypnotist!

    I believe I recognize your username from the google product forums for YouTube help. It's very kind (and patient) of you to help out there.

    It's an interesting topic. The nuance of the legal speak is enough to make us frustrated with making informed guesses or running for the hills in search of a lawyer :)

    d) any Product purchased by a customer who is referred to an Amazon Site by a link that is generated or displayed on a search engine (including Google, Yahoo, Bing, or any other search portal, sponsored advertising service, or other search or referral service, or any site that participates in such search engine’s network),
    "

    This is referring to links being in (displayed ) the results of search engines, or as the target link of the ad itself (generated). It still applies to YouTube's search engine.

    Obvious Example: You can't send traffic to a product with your affiliate link by buying an adwords campaign that directly links to Amazon. That is the type of issue that the policy "intends" to prevent.

    In the case of YouTube, you can't put the URL of your amazon affiliate link in the title, nor in the description in the first few lines, as those will get indexed by YouTube's search engine and be part of the results when a user searches for videos. That is a circumstance where you wouldn't be following the policy as outlined.

    Since a YouTube channel itself doesn't qualify as a search engine, putting the affiliate links later in the description doesn't appear to be against any policy I can find, as long as the links are not misleading to the user (identified as affiliate links), or do anything else against the policies.

    That's how I see it. I've read the policy numerous times and see articles where it was broken down like that. If there's an article out there that says otherwise, I'd love to see it. While we all love the idea of Amazon clarifying their policies... getting them to actually do that is another matter entirely :)

    Stephane
     
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  5. UKHypnotist
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    That is why I would ask the Support section of Amazon Associates to explain rather than going by "That's how I see it". You might be seeing it incorrectly.

    Yes I've been known to contribute to the YouTube Help Forum on occasion, but I've been a member of YTTalk for much longer (since 2013). On the YT Help Forum, I use my channel name of Hypnosystemsuk
     
  6. Aleksandar Blagojevic
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    Thanks for sharing this, really really good info.
     
  7. Highfalutin' Low Carb
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    Wanted to correct a few things in this thread about Amazon Affiliate links and even where to place Affiliate links, in case anyone is still reading.

    Amazon is very clear and up-front that they allow and even encourage affiliate links in YouTube video descriptions.

    Amazon even goes further and tells you the best place in the YouTube Description Box to post your affiliate link to get the most clicks. And despite someone’s advice above, Amazon advises placing them at the top of the Video Description box!

    I’ve been an Amazon Associate since the day I started my channel a year ago, and was recently invited to become an Amazon Influencer based on my Affiliate sales over the last year. Amazon actively and specifically encourages affiliate links on social media (including YouTube) as long as you follow the rules and guidelines about disclosure. The rules about the search engines and portals is to prevent someone from using Google AdWords or a similar paid service to advertise an affiliate link they would earn money from.

    To quote Amazon, “Amazon affiliate links can be distributed via social networks, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.“

    (pasted from the Amazon Associates Page since YTTalk doesn’t allow links)

    —————

    YouTube and affiliate marketing
    On YouTube, affiliate marketing can be used as an additional source of income, alongside widespread sponsorship. This makes especially good sense when it is a product-related video. This may, for example, be an experience-based review or the test of a particular product. Affiliate links can be inserted into the YouTube description field below the videos.

    It is important, as with the articles on your website, to be honest with your viewers or followers. Always keep in mind that you should deliver value and focus on high-quality content. This is both good practice for building a readership and will also mean that you’re not in danger of anyone questioning your credibility.

    • Tip: an affiliate link on YouTube should always be inserted at the beginning of the video description. This increases the chance that it will be clicked.
    (End) —————-

    (I tried to include the official link here from the Amazon Associates Page, but I guess that’s not allowed. So frustrating. If you search Google for “amazon affiliate link YouTube” one of the first links is directly from the Amazon website and contains the quote above.)

    If a mod wants to allow me to post the link, I will. Hope this helps clear things up.
     
    #7 Highfalutin' Low Carb, Apr 3, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
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  8. UKHypnotist
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    What I saw on the site was quite confusing Carb; glad to see you clear it up. One problem: I tried the search you recommended; and the first links were YouTube videos about Amazon Affiliate link placement for YouTube videos.

    I found a link to Associates Central with a "guided tour". The only social media type sites mentioned for linkage were Twitter and Facebook.

    Can you post the link by doing this? affiliate-program.amazon.com/welcome/getstarted Just leave out the "http" part.
     
    #8 UKHypnotist, Apr 4, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
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  9. Highfalutin' Low Carb
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    Most of this info is behind the login wall for Amazon Associates and won't appear in search results. If you apply for the Associates program, you get access to their Education Center that has this info. I'll try to post the link below to the only front-facing page I could find that doesn't require an Associates login. There are several paragraphs in the middle of the page that address YouTube directly. Let's try this:

    amazon-affiliate (dot) eu (slash) en/social-networks-affiliate-marketing/

    (Edited to add that when I was recently invited into the Amazon Influencer program (that allows me to have my own Amazon Shop page) I was required to submit my Youtube channel link so that my channel content could be approved. But I was using Amazon Associate links since I started my channel just over a year ago and those sales originating from my YouTube Channel are what secured me an Influencer Invitation, which was unsolicited. Hope that helps.)
     
    #9 Highfalutin' Low Carb, Apr 4, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
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  10. UKHypnotist
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    It does indeed help; thanks a lot!
     
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